Ryan Ellis, 3rd Grade Teacher at Forest Ridge Elementary in Keizer, OR

Nominated by Heather Matthews (parent)

Ryan Ellis has brought a love of learning to my daughter and her entire 3rd grade class.  Whether it be creating a voting booth during the elections to show them the process of elections and why their vote matters, to them learning of King Midas by having each child become a character from that Era,  he is constantly stretching their minds to think outside of the box.  On top of that, he has them up moving by doing Yoga moves, or dancing around to engage their mind, body and spirit.  He truly is one of a kind and deserves to be your Educator of the Week.

Congrats Ryan, from all of us at K103!


What inspired you to become an educator?

It all started when I had my first male teacher in 3rd grade. I can vividly remember Mr. Moore reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle with different voices; the story seemed to come to life. It made me want to be like him. My desire to be a teacher continued to grow as I encountered amazing educators in my educational journey. When deciding on a career in college, I followed my heart and decided to make a difference in the lives of children like so many did for me.

What do you like most about teaching?

One of my favorite things about teaching is getting to the “light bulb” moment with my students. To see them finally understand a concept they had trouble with is an amazing experience. I also enjoy building relationships with my students and getting to know them on a personal level. It’s always neat to have them come back and visit after they have moved on from my class or school.

What has changed the most since you began your career in education?

Education is always changing, but I believe that the biggest change is the use of technology in the classroom. When I started, we had an overhead projector and desktop computers. Now in my classroom we use a SMARTBoard, projector, Chromebooks, Digital cameras, and Ozobots. When I first began my career I never would have thought that my students would be learning how to program robots.

What would you like parents to know about your job?

I would like parents to know that I truly care about their child mentally, physically and emotionally. I want to be their child’s coach and cheerleader. I believe that their child will do great things in my class as well as in the rest of their life.

Share a favorite story about your years in education.

One of my favorite things is when students that I had when I taught first grade come back to invite me to their graduation. It is such a great moment to have them remember me after so many years.

Of course every day in elementary has a story behind it. But one of my funniest stories is when I was teaching first grade, probably my second year of teaching. We have a local naturalist in teaching my students about beavers and doing an art project with them. My students were working on the art project part of the lesson when I hear one of my boys yelling, “Pass the damn crayon!” So I urgently went over to him to ask him what the problem was. He explained that he was trying to color his beaver’s dam and needed the color that was for the dam. So therefore he needed the dam colored crayon. Got to love first graders! 

Each week during the school year, K103 and Concordia University will honor a local educator.  Each week, our honored educator receives:

  • $103 Gift Card for Classroom School Supplies
  • The Crystal Apple Award
  • A Concordia University Continuing Education Scholarship